We contacted Henry-Jean Servat, the creator of the documentary that will recount Grace Kelly's film career on the 40th anniversary of her death.
Filming for the documentary, called "Grace, Princess of Hollywood", began this summer and is expected to be ready by the end of the year. "I wanted to talk about Grace Kelly's career, because we have talked so much about the Princess that we have ended up forgetting that she was an actress first and foremost," explains film enthusiast Henry-Jean Servat.
The film will end with the image of Grace Kelly walking up the steps of Monaco Cathedral to marry Prince Rainier. Because in saying "I do" to the Sovereign of Monaco, the young actress put an end to her career.
"It was heartbreaking for her to stop working. And roles were still offered to her after she became a Princess! She refused, but she hesitated each time. I discovered that she was sorely tempted. But at the same time, what else did she have to gain?" the journalist and writer wonders.
By the age of 25, she had taken on the most fabulous roles, worked with Hitchcock, won an Oscar... For the great admirer of Grace Kelly, the actress had no reason to envy her peers in 1950s cinema. However the competition was fierce at the time (Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Garner, Marylin Monroe etc.).
No one in American cinema had that elegance, that freshness, that sophistication and at the same time a racy sideHenry-Jean Servat
An interview with Prince Albert
The former Télématin journalist had the opportunity of talking to Prince Albert II this summer. The Sovereign received him at the Palace. "We sat by the family pool," he says. "The Prince told me that his mother loved Angelique, Marquise of Angels (Angélique, the Marquise of the Angels). She used to have it screened for her to watch in the Palace's cinema." The Princely Family would watch films in the company of friends such as Ava Gardner, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, as many of the Princess' Hollywood co-stars visited her in Monaco.
Grace Kelly brought luxury and glamour to the PrincipalityHenry-Jean Servat
"We would be watching Mogambo, and I would see my mother next to me but also on the screen," the Prince told the journalist, still in amazement. Even though he did not live through his mother's career, the Sovereign makes a point of watching her films. "He can only be moved and happy to see her celebrated, because she was an exceptional actress", says Henry-Jean Servat, who knows Grace Kelly's career inside out.
The Sovereign mentioned this to Monaco Matin, "Her presence is still very much felt. Her legacy is still very present in the Principality and elsewhere in the world. People I meet talk about her all the time, even people who didn't know her."
Film buff Servat also plans to interview Pauline Ducruet, Princess Stéphanie's daughter, for his documentary, which is being made for OCF (Organisation Cinématographique Française), and is to be broadcast on an American platform (accessible in Monaco and elsewhere). "She is a stylist and I would like her to talk to me about Grace Kelly's elegance on screen, to analyse her grandmother's outfits." He also wants to include contributions from Camille Gottlieb, Princess Stephanie's second daughter, and from the Princess herself.
Screenings at the Cinémathèque in Nice
Also as a tribute to the actress, Henry-Jean Servat is organising the screening of nine Grace Kelly films at the Cinémathèque in Nice, starting on September 14. An event that Prince Albert II is planning to attend on 27 September, at the showing of To Catch a Thief. "He will be coming with some members of his family and will take part in the debate afterwards", the Nice town councillor in charge of the cinema is pleased to announce.
Some of the Cinémathèque's 300 seats will be reserved for local elected officials of the city of Nice, starting with the mayor, Christian Estrosi, and several will be occupied by the members of the Cinémathèque. Tickets will also available for the general public. So keep your eyes open!
Grace Kelly's filmography
- 14 Hours directed by Henry Hathaway, 1951
- High Noon by Fred Zinnemann, 1952
- Mogambo by John Ford in 1954
- Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder in 1954
- The Country Girl by George Seaton in 1954
- Green Fire by Andrew Marton in 1954
- The Bridges at Toko-Ri by Mark Robson in 1954
- Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 Rear Window
- Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief in 1955
- Charles Vidor's The Swan in 1956
- Charles Walters' High Society in 1956